INNOVATION IN EDUCATION · SUMMIT IN ACTION

‘Today Show’ celebrates Kairos Academies’ mentoring program

When Kairos Academies opened in August 2019, co-founder Gavin Schiffres couldn’t wait to watch his school reimagine the learning experience for students.

What Schiffres couldn’t imagine, obviously, was the COVID-19 pandemic that would dramatically alter the education system seven months later. 

But Kairos Academies quickly pivoted to remote learning and placed even more of an emphasis on meeting their students’ evolving needs. Using Summit Learning’s mentorship program, Kairos Academies has thrived in keeping students engaged in their learning and willing to discuss their feelings about life with their coaches. 

That emphasis on building strong student-teacher relationships recently received the national spotlight when NBC’s “Today Show” visited Kairos Academies in St. Louis, Mo. 

“I feel like we have the model,” Today host Hoda Kotb said. “Someone has done it right. That was something none of us had back in the day.” 

The program focused on Kairos’ social-emotional learning model and offered “a first-hand look inside one school that’s found a creative way to improve the mental health of kids during the pandemic and it’s having a positive impact on adults as well.”

In the story, students spoke about the close bonds they’ve formed with their mentoring coaches during this past year. 

“They try to help you as much as they can,” a Kairos student said. “If you’re struggling mentally, they take all that into consideration and think about you as a person.” 

Kairos Academies increased their coaching sessions during the pandemic, with some students receiving daily check-ins based on individual needs.

“Every adult in the building is a Coach,” Schiffres said. “From the CEO to the teachers to our operations team to the front desk receptionist, every adult in the building works one-on-one with kids.”

Watch the full Today Show segment here.

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Summit Learning
Summit Learning
Summit Learning is a research–based approach to education designed to drive student engagement, meaningful learning, and strong student–teacher relationships that prepare students for life after graduation. Created by teachers with experience in diverse classrooms, Summit Learning is grounded in decades of research about how children learn. With Summit Learning, students gain mastery of core subjects like math, history, English, and science, while also carefully developing the skills and habits of lifelong learners. Summit Learning is independently led and operated by the nonprofit, Gradient Learning.